Family Specialists Since 1941

Helping Over 300,000 Students Pass Their Real Estate Exam

Call Now: 800-878-1929

Frequently Asked Questions

Browse through our Frequently Asked Question about passing the California Sales Agent Exam or Broker Exam, Applicant Requirements, our Online Study Courses, and many questions asked by our students over the years:

Are you course approved by the Department of Real Estate?

YES, Courses that are offered strictly for preparing students to take their license examinations are not required to be approved by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). However, the DRE must approve courses that qualify individuals to take the California Real Estate “Sales Agent” and “Broker” License Examinations which are described by the DRE as “Statutory Courses”. We currently offer nine “statutory courses” approved (Appraisal, Economics, Escrow, Finance, Legal Aspects (Law), Mortgage Loan Brokering, Practice, Principles and Property Management). The DRE issues approval numbers for each course. To see a list of our offered courses with photos, full descriptions including the approval numbers you can click on this link Course Descriptions. To determine if a school has a course(s) approved, someone can go to the DRE website at and look this up, or we have a link that will take you directly to the page in which you will be able to conduct a course provider search of your own. Look for the following field… Enter Course Provider Name: Simply type in California School of Real Estate. The results will show the school information and a list of courses that have approval.

Aren’t all schools the same? What makes your school different from the others?

You will find that most schools offer similar study materials and put you through a similar study process, However, we are very confident we have the best overall program by far!

According to the Department of Real Estate, there is close to a 50% failure rate on the State Exam. We don’t want our students to be a part of the failing percentage so it’s important to understand how we are different…

Superior Experience

Our family had one of the first schools, if not the very first Real Estate School to be approved by the Department of Real Estate, which occurred in 1941.

Our main competition offers program in up to 50 states and programs for other fields, like Appraisal, Contractor and Insurance licenses, while we have been completely focused on helping people pass their Real Estate Exam (Only)

Our Head Instructor Don Schwartz has probably been teaching this longer than any other instructor in the entire field… we can only think of one other that might be in running. Our Head Instructor’s Video/DVD presentation which includes test taking hints is far superior to others and most schools don’t even offer anything on video.

Superior Program

The most valuable and important piece of our program. Our Exam Review Guide (used for the purpose of studying for the state exam) was developed by our Head Instructor, who for years debriefed students and researched all the real estate exam related material available in the field. Through a long a tedious process he extracted all the vocabulary and subject matter that he felt would be pertinent to the State Exam and put it into a 178-pg outline (substituted for Qualification Course textbooks totaling 1350+ pages in small print). This enables our students to study exactly what is needed and eliminate wasted time studying unnecessary information.

No other school has something like this!

Our Lightning Review Audio/CD will make a significant difference in our student’s success, as it provides the most important exam related information to listen to the day before and/or on the way to the State Exam.

Superior Support

Our “One on One” Support…Is unmatched by other schools, as our Head Instructor makes himself personally available to answer student’s questions as they go through our program.
Nobody other school offers this…

Lowest Enrollment Cost

We have researched all of the competitor’s pricing structures to allow us to choose pricing on our programs that offer the most value.…

Currently our Qualification Course w/ textbook prices are the lowest available on the internet. Our License Preparation Programs are the lowest in comparison for the amount of materials and quality you receive in our package (possibly the lowest on the internet regardless of content). Our Broker Qualification Courses have been recently reduced to qualify as the lowest priced courses available.

What’s the difference between taking LIVE LECTURES and HOMESTUDY?

LIVE LECTURES (What some students think they need)

Since the inception of our family involvement in the real estate exam preparation field in 1941 and for many years after, the traditional method of teaching License Preparation was to attend a series 8 live lectures (classes). (usually spanning over a period of 3-4 months before Prerequisite Courses were required). Offering the lectures given at different times throughout the week worked to a certain degree but had many drawbacks; students often would miss classes, students would take too long to attend all the lectures and by the time they took their State Exam would forget a lot of the information taught in some of the beginning lectures, students would waste a lot of time asking questions, some non-pertinent to the information taught and many times questions that were answered by the instructor later on in the lecture, students would fall asleep in class, or not paying attention would miss a lot of the lecture, The only way for students to repeat a lecture would be to drive back to class when the next one was available. In addition, when we offered live lectures, It was much more costly for our students as we needed to hire other instructors in areas around the state to teach the classes. Then last, students always preferred to take the lectures taught by our Head Instructor “Don Schwartz” who couldn’t possibly be able to teach in all the locations and at all times.

HOMESTUDY (What works the best!)

License Preparation
In our continuing endeavor to find ways to make our program easier and improve passing rates, in 1976, our family looked at a rather unique program, where they were attempting to teach the entire lecture series over a single weekend. We liked the idea, but knew it was lacking some very important components that could vastly improve its outcome and went ahead and designed our own “weekend review” with those changes. We later found by doing this, gave our students a much better retention level of material taught in class, and within a few short months practically all our students switched over to the cram session and we soon discontinued the weekday sessions.

This went so well locally, that it was decided to expand statewide and begin to look for instructors to seek out individuals to teach in these areas. After extensive interviews, it was realized that there were few who had knowledge to teach a program like this, without several years of previous training. After interviewing over 100 potential instructors, we had only found three that turned out to be able to do so. But no matter how many instructors taught the classes, the students always seemed to want to attend Don Schwartz’s sessions. Then there was a decision to make some other important adjustments which consisted of trimming down the time, where now we are able to present this entire lecture session portion using a information packed 6+ hour video presentation on Video/DVD.

In recent years with the technology now available, Don decided to put his entire preparation program online including the weekend review 6+ video presentation, creating an environment in which students can now study virtually “anytime” and “anywhere”. Then to make our study program without compare, Don makes himself personally available to answer student’s questions during the study process.

Qualification Courses
Considering the fact that these courses are not meant to prepare students for the actual State Exam and serve only as a prerequisite, we wanted to create a situation in which our students could pass these courses the easiest way possible and in the shortest period of time. That’s why most schools like ours also choose “homestudy” to complete these courses. Very few schools today offer live classes. We found that only 1 or 2 that actually teach the qualification course material in these live sessions. Ultimately students end up taking more time to complete the qualification portion of the program and worst yet the information they learn during these live sessions is not focused to the actual State Exam.

Our family being in the real estate education business longer than almost all other schools and using our expertise, we recommend completing these courses as soon as possible and use a license preparation program to study information that will be more focused to the actual state exam.

Advantages to Live Lectures with other schools

  • Can ask a question or two in a class.

Advantages to Homestudy and our Video Presentation

  • Since most of the information presented on the State Exam is fairly easy to understand for the average person (mostly memorization of subject matter and vocabulary). Students don’t need hands on teaching, nor does the information train you for the field, rather just used to pass the State Exam specifically.
  • Don’t have to spend time to get up early, driving, money on gas, food, hotel etc.
  • Can watch at your convenience, where you want and when you want, and in segments.
  • Presentation is taught by the “Top Instructor in the State.”
  • Get through the program much quicker!
  • Can rewind if you miss something.
  • Can repeat lecture as often as needed. Important to memorize large amounts of subject matter and vocabulary presented on state exam.
  • Won’t fall asleep as in a class and miss important information.
  • Watch when you have time to focus.
  • Watch closer to your exam date which will give you much better retention.
  • Less expensive than live classes.
  • *And to combat the only possible disadvantage in which students aren’t in a physical class to ask questions, we make our head instructor available to answer questions throughout our entire program. Not just one or two questions, but any questions you have.

If I’m already a sales agent, how many courses would I need to get a broker’s license?

If you are currently a Sales Agent, you would have had to complete at least 3 courses to get your license.

Originally. In this case which is the most common you would then need to complete 5 more courses. If prior to that you had taken any courses with a real estate school or college, or anytime you have taken courses and have the transcripts or certificate of completions, then you would be able to also count them towards the 8 required courses.

What If I already have the textbooks for the courses…or I want to order just one course?

In this case you would have to call our office during business hours to order just the courses by themselves, letting our phone reps know that you already have the textbooks and that you will have to make sure we have the courses that match with your textbooks.

Can I get something different than the 3 courses… example; what if I want mortgage loan brokering?

Two of the courses (Principles and Practice are mandatory) however the choice of the 3rd course is an elective, therefore you could choose any course you wish as the 3rd course. For simplistic reasons and because we wanted to offer a course that would be more pertinent or useful to someone becoming a Real Estate Sales Agent. We chose to offer Legal Aspects of Real Estate as the elective course included in our package.

Once I purchase the program, how long do I have to complete the qualification courses?

You have up to 1-year to complete the qualification courses. After the year time period the DRE requires that we have you re-enrolled in the program and we do that for a discount of $25 per course.

How long would it take me to finish the Sales Agent Program for start to finish?

The Qualification Courses you can complete in as little as 2 1/2 weeks each course (x 3 courses) equaling 7 1/2 weeks total. Once you qualify, you send in for a testing date for State Exam which usually takes 4-6 weeks, in which time you prepare for the State Exam, so the soonest you could get through the program on an average would be approximately 3 months.

How difficult is the CA State Exam than other states?

California’s exam is considered one of the toughest in the nation. It is one of the few, if not, the only state, that doesn’t use an outsourced testing service to handle their state tests. California writes its own exams and for years been considered the most difficult as most exams test on your knowledge of subject matter and vocabulary only…whereas California, is also known for having been written to throw off students. This leaves a situation in which students must read the questions and answers very carefully, as misinterpreting one word can make a difference in selecting a correct answer, so in addition to being a subject matter test it is also a reading test, making it doubly difficult than other state exams.

Do you have to be a resident of CA to start?

You can study from anywhere and take the state test. Those taking the Sales Agents Exam do not need to be a resident, however for those taking the Brokers Exam must have a resident address.

Is a High School diploma needed to take the State Exam?


Can I use my sales experience from another country or state towards the 2 years sales experience requirement?

Not totally sure about other countries as laws could be quite different from ours, but for sure, they will use the (working) experience from any other state.

Can I order the program for someone else? I want to pay for a friend, family member, etc. but list them as the student.

A person may order and pay for any of our programs for another person. If someone else is paying, we need be sure we are provided with all the basic information for the person who will be designated as the “student”. This can be done by either calling the school directly to place the order or after placing an order online, immediately call the school to inform us of the situation.

How fast can I get the sales license in my hands?

You can get a license in as little as 3-4 months. The specific time frame is based on completing three prerequisite courses (Real Estate Principles, Practice and an elective course), which can be completed in a minimum of 7-1/2 weeks. After applying for a testing date, it will generally take an additional 4 to 6 weeks before you’ll be taking your State Exam.

Both myself and my spouse would like to participate in your program. Can we share the materials?

Absolutely! You may share all the preparation materials. However, each of you would need to separately complete the prerequisite courses entitled Real Estate Principles, Practice and an elective course. The Department of Real Estate requires the proof of completion of these courses in order to apply for and receive a testing date for the State Exam.

Where are the testing sites for the State Exam and how often are the exams held?

The testing sites in California are currently located in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno, La Palma (LA/Orange County Area) and San Diego. Tests are usually given 2-3 days out of each week.

What is the difference between a Sales Agents License and Brokers License?

The Sales Agent License will allow you to work in the Real Estate field as an agent. Your license must be placed with a Broker in order for it to become active. The Broker’s license will allow you to work independently and represent yourself in a transaction. It will also allow you to open up an office and hire sales agents.

What Real Estate fields would I be able to work in once I receive my license?

The license will allow you to represent brokers in a vast area of real estate activities; Examples: Home sales, commercial property, industrial properties, leasing, property management, subdivision property, mortgage loan brokering, business opportunity sales, etc.

How difficult is it to find work after I received my license?

Usually not difficult at all. You will find that most brokerages are consistently looking for new agents. In fact, once you apply to take the state exam your name is put on a public list which is subscribed to by many of these companies. In result, we have found that most of our students receive letters from many of the major franchises asking them to come in for an interview.

What is the typical pay structure for Sales Agents and how much does the average person make?

Sales Agents normally work on a commission basis. The standard commission on the sale of a home is 6%. The beginning Sales Agent usually splits the commission 50/50 with their Broker. Sales Agents working in the field can earn as little as nothing or in the MILLIONS! It’s ultimately up to you. No matter who you are or what your background, there is an unlimited opportunity to earn income. We estimate that the average Sales Agent probably earns between $30,000 to $50,000 per year.

Is the California License valid in other states and visa versa?

Each state has its own license requirements; therefore, it would be necessary to contact the state where you are interested in being licensed in order to determine their requirements. On occasion, a state may accept some of your real estate education in California. Usually not!

What are the requirements to take the State Exam?

You must be 18 years of age. Anyone with a criminal record may not be eligible. You will need to contact the Department of Real Estate for more details

How much time is needed to prepare for the state exam?

We estimate about 30 hours study time for the Sales Exam and 40-50 hours study time for the Brokers Exam.

Do you need to be sponsored by a company or broker in order to start the licensing process or obtain a license?

NO Sponsor is needed.

What is the passing grade for the State Exam?

Sales Agent: The passing grade is 70%. 150 multiple choice questions.  One session for a total 3 hours to take the test.

Brokers: The passing grade is 75%. 200 multiple choice questions. One session for a total of 4 hours to take the test.

Once you pass the State Exam, what are the fees to obtain the actual license?

Sales Agent License: To take State Exam: $60, Fingerprinting: $51, License $245.

Broker License:  To take State Exam $95, Fingerprinting: $51, License $300.


Department of Real Estate (877) 373-4542